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FAQ for Injured Persons
  1. Introduction
  2. What Do I Need To Know?
  3. How Big is the Tax Break?
  4. How Secure Are The Payments?
  5. How Do Structures Compare With Other Investments?
  6. What Are the Disadvantages?
  7. When Would I Get My Money?
  8. What Have Other People Done?
  9. How Do I Get Started?
  10. How Flexible Are The Design Options?
  11. What Is A "Settlement Broker"?
  12. Who Pays Them?
Home Page > "How to" For Injured Persons >FAQ

How Do I Get Started?

Structured settlements are custom-designed for every individual. The first step in the process it to identify your specific needs.  While you can’t identify every thing you will need over the years, you can safely anticipate certain requirements and these are the ones you take care of first.

(Please note: if you are dealing with truly catastrophic injuries, the process we outline below will not be sufficient for your needs.  Click here for more information on how to handle these highly complex situations.)

Primary needs. 

Has your injury affected your ability to work?  Is so, that’s the first issue you must confront.  If you can’t work at all, you are going to have to create a stream of income to live on. If you are able to work, but not full-time or at the same level of compensation, you will want to supplement that income to bring it back up to par.

Having a secure source of income to meet living expenses is mandatory, not optional.  Everyone needs the basics of food, shelter, clothing, transportation and medical care. Funding these expenses with non-taxable income is much cheaper than doing so with taxable (wage) income.

If you don’t know what your present living expenses are, this worksheet may help you identify them. After you have addressed primary needs, move on to secondary needs.

Secondary needs. 

Do you have future education expenses? Are you fully funded for retirement?  Do you wish to upgrade your housing situation, or perhaps plan a special vacation?  Settlement planning gives you a rare opportunity to secure funds for these in advance. 

If you're unsure about your objectives, click here to review a list of goals that other people have identified as important.

In summary, the idea is to start thinking specifically about your present and future needs, so you can pick and choose which ones to secure now.  Fund those that make the most economic sense (tax break) and/or that give you the greatest sense of relief (security).

Examples of what other people have done: